The Innovative Chef of the Year Award commenced with a challenge for the five nominees: who can take an ingredient as versatile as U.S. Cheese, and create dishes that reinvent the flavours and textures of these cheeses.
At the World Gourmet Summit Press Conference held on Tuesday the 5th of March, these five chefs used their ingenuity to create one plated dish each, using U.S. Monterey Jack and Chipotle Cheddar courtesy of the U.S. Dairy Export Council. In the open air restaurant of Arbora Restaurant, with the sun setting , these chefs took 45 minutes to create, plate, and present their dishes to judges that were tasked to taste each dish and make notes. None of the judges were meant to know which chef had done which, in order to remain impartial to the nominees.
The five chefs that had been nominated were Chef Dexter Lim, from One Farrer Hotel; Chef Josephine Loke, from Andaz Singapore hotel ; Chef Petrina Loh, from Morsels; Chef Miller Mai from Ding Dong; and Chef Eugene See from Birds of a Feather. Each chef had taken upon themselves to create dishes that innovate and revolutionize how we usually see Monterey Jack and Chipotle Cheddar cheeses.
Long used as the cheese choice to simple mix-and-match cheese varieties to specially topped salads, pizzas, grilled cheeses and slices for sandwiches, Monterey Jack Cheese and Chipotle Cheddar cheeses have long been a beloved cheese choice of many households, but these chefs managed to elevate the cheeses into the stars of the dishes, pairing these cheeses with flavours unexplored.
All five chefs did their best to present Monterey Jack and Chipotle Cheddar to great effect, whether pairing it with long-loved flavours like tomato soup, or adding unorthodox flavours like Sichuan peppercorn and dried chilli. All 5 judges added their own personal touches and ideas behind each dish, and it can be safely said that all five dishes fulfilled the definition of Innovation and Creativity, two of the themes the judges were looking for in their dishes.
The results of the Challenge will be released on the 22nd of April, during the World Gourmet Awards Presentation Ceremony at One Farrer Hotel Singapore. If you wish to keep track of more updates for the World Gourmet Awards, follow us on Facebook and Instagram!